Ambisonic-centred location sound recording - reinvigorating the observational documentary genre?

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The art of location-based Sound Recording specifically, has been a neglected area of academic research. I seek to address this by drawing critical attention to the intricacies and skills involved in location Sound Recording within single-camera Observational Documentaries (ObsDocs). I show how this art continues to be central to the creative process of production, in driving the narrative and shaping the text’s influence, within the pro-filmic space.

I go on to consider the future for location-based Sound Recording within ObsDocs and its place in a new multi-platform, multi-screen consumption space. Examining a case study, I seek to develop and define a new working methodology and aesthetic for the craft and art, predicated on an anticipated resurgence of the ObsDoc genre, centred around opportunities afforded by the emerging technologies of immersive sound: ambisonic microphone arrays being a vital part of that development. Ambisonics is a method for capturing a full 3D sound field, and its genre-bridging adaptability means it can be converted to a dynamically steerable binaural format. I argue that deploying an ambisonic-centred location Sound Recording methodology, fused with the art of recording unscripted actuality Sound within the pro-filmic geographic event-space, will offer new creative opportunities impacts for ObsDoc makers and crucially, tomorrow’s Documentary audiences. Presenting audiences with an exciting new ability to experience the sense of geographical place and physical event that immersive audio delivers, bears the potential of re-invigorating a content driven ObsDoc market, which once again, will foreground the primacy of neglected storytelling capabilities, in a New consumption World.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationProceedings of the AVANCA International Conference | CINEMA 2020
PublisherEdicoes Cine-Clube de Avanca
Number of pages11
Publication statusPublished - 14 Oct 2020
EventAvanca | Cinema 2020: International Conference Cinema - Art, Technology, Communication - Avanca, Aveiro, Portugal
Duration: 22 Jul 202026 Jul 2020
http://11 th International Conference Cinema - Art, Technology, Communication

Publication series

NameAVANCA International Conference | CINEMA
ISSN (Print)2184-0520


ConferenceAvanca | Cinema 2020
Abbreviated titleAVANCA | CINEMA 2020
CityAvanca, Aveiro
Internet address


  • Ambisonics
  • Observational
  • Documentary
  • Sound
  • Recording


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